Back To School, The Green Way

The amount of trash a school can generate is staggering.

This year, Montclair Elementary plans to join other schools in the area in trying to cut down its trash. There’s a lot to reduce. Each week, a garbage truck hauls 12 cubic yards of trash away from the school. The Green Team is the brainchild of parents Jane McCrea and Kim Hoffman. McCrea said that once they had the idea last school year, it didn’t take long to find a bunch of other parents eager to make the school more green. The Green Team will have six components: Gardening and composting, zero-waste lunch, walk to school, art and the environment, energy efficiency, and green fundraising.

McCrea said the Green Team will borrow best practices from other schools, such as Peralta, Joaquin Miller, and Glenview, which have made efforts to make their campuses greener.

Yawn, Top School Scores In The Hills

As the blog of record, we need to report this real yawner:  top API scores were achieved by Montclair and Thornhill Elementary Schools again, and acceptable scores came from Joaquin Miller as well.  The newest Academic Performance Indicators (APIs) were released yesterday by the State of California.

It’s not surprising that our students perform well on these standardized state tests.  Montclair delivered 957, up some 35 percent over last year.  Thornhill registered 944, increasing 20 percent over last year.  Joaquin Miller scored 886, also rising 18 percent over last year.

We decided to check out the top 100 schools across California this time, and the scores do correlate with well-heeled places.  When you look through this list, you can easily imagine involved parents in each location.

To receive an “A” grade from the State of California, each school must achieve an 800 API – and that number isn’t even in the rear-view mirrors of our three schools.  Across Oakland Unified’s results, the elementary schools fell well below this number by yielding a 758 average and 746 median.  The city numbers still inched up four percent versus last year’s scores.

Anyway, the highest API scores are something Montclarions expect and probably don’t worry about very much.  It’s like handing out gold stars to pupils who are used to receiving them.

Montclair Elementary’s Budding Artists Here

In the old days, you could find local children’s artwork by walking around their schools, visiting family homes or seeing special exhibits around town.  Flash forward, and the budding artists are displayed online now.

Ruth Teitelbaum, Montclair Elementary’s art teacher, has shared many creations.  We selected a few works, to show you how much things have changed – and because this art is really impressive.

Montclair Elementary Pastel

This first pastel was created by a third-grader and looks a bit like something Pablo Picasso might whip up.  Seriously, look at this angular head and bifurcated face more closely.  Would you have considered drawing this in grade school?

Montclair Elementary Splatter

This second work reflected what students had learned about Jackson Pollock.  A bunch of second through fourth-graders were able to splatter tempera paints together, joyfully producing this Pollock-inspired action painting.

Montclair Elementary Print

Next we have a nice print created by a fifth grader, which strikes me as folk art.  There’s a fish that might be disguising a devil (note the tail), trying to swim upstream.  We’re wondering about that symbolism, hhmm.

Montclair Elementary Painting

Last, here is a colorful painting of a deer foraging in the woods.  Like any budding artist, this fourth grader was inspired by local surroundings.  We like the classics sometimes, plus this deer came out very well.

Anyway, all this art makes me happy about what kids are learning in school.  Art class should be about exploring and expanding horizons – and that’s different than what (latter-day) boomers experienced in the 1960s and 1970s.